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We regularly advise health and welfare attorneys on their duties, and it’s quite apparent that the same concerns come up time and time again. Planning for later, or even end of life is difficult, so below are some answers to the questions frequently asked by those who are considering putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for health and welfare, and what it means for their chosen attorneys.
Anyone over the age of 18, can complete an LPA for their welfare decisions; this person is known as ‘the donor’. The donor makes this type of LPA to appoint attorneys to make decisions about their personal welfare, which can include healthcare and medical treatment decisions.
Should you loose capacity to make your own personal welfare decisions, the attorneys you name under your health and welfare LPA can make these decisions for you. They can include:-
This decision-making does not automatically fall to the next of kin and unless the health and welfare LPA is in place, medical professional and social workers can end up making these best interests decisions for you.
What is a best interests decision?
All attorneys must make decisions in the donor’s best interests. It is extremely important that the decision which is made best fits the outcome that would be desired by the donor. If the donor therefore had capacity to make this decision, what decision would she/he make regardless of whether this decision would be the best outcome for anyone else? By that I mean, when you are acting as an attorney for a donor, the best interests decision that is right for the donor should be made, and not what is the best (or preferred) outcome for the attorney making the decision.
The checklist is held within section 4 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and can be summarised as follows: -
Who should I choose as my health and welfare attorney?
Your welfare decisions are some of the most important you could ask someone else to make for you. It should be the person or persons closest to you who know you best, not just your nearest family members, but possibly your dearest friend.
These decisions are so personal to you; would you want them made by strangers? If not, then please contact us on 01775 842500 to request details on completing, what is in our view, the most important document you will ever need!